When we left off last week, Tina had enough of Ike’s abuse and ended their turbulent marriage with divorce in 1976. Tina had done some solo work before her split with Ike, but now she really felt the pressure of going solo.
Tina first started small with shows in Las Vegas in a cabaret setting and took the intimate act to other US cities, keeping the venues small on purpose. Tina worked on her US exposure by appearing on hit TV shows of the time, such as “The Hollywood Squares”, “Donny and Marie” and “The Sonny & Cher Show”.
Tina then did a tour of Australia and then released a couple of new studio albums, but the albums did not make the charts. By the early 1980’s Tina returned to be an opening act for “The Rolling Stones” and Rod Stewart on their respective tours. In November 1983, Tina released a new single “Let’s Stay Together” which became an instant hit. This lead Capital Records to renew Tina’s contract to a three album deal.
After two months in a London studio, Tina released what would become the breakout album of her career, “Private Dancer” in June 1984. “What’s Love Got to Do with It” was a single released from the album and would skyrocket to number one on Billboards’ charts. The album in general would make it up to number three on the charts and sell over 20 million albums worldwide. Tina had now firmly put her Ike past behind her and become a major solo singing star, at the age of 45, which is no small feat.
At the 1985 Grammy’s, Tina would win four Grammy’s including Record of the Year. Tina also started a world tour to huge crowds everywhere she appeared. Later in the year, Tina landed a role opposite Mel Gibson in the post-apocalyptic film “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. The film was a box office hit and Tina won praise for her role. Tina also recorded two songs for the film, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “One of the Living”. Both became hits, with Tina winning another Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
In 1986, Tina published her memoirs, “I, Tina”, which would become a bestseller. Tina also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that same year. In January 1988, Tina made history when she performed in front of the largest paying audience (approximately 184,000) to see a solo performer, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earning her a Guinness World Record.
The success of Turner’s two live tours, led to the recording of “Tina Live in Europe” which was released that April. In 1989, Tina released a new studio album, “Foreign Affair” which included the song “The Best.” The singles “The Best” and “Steamy Windows” become Top 40 hits in the US and was hugely successful in Europe. Tina then decided to personally move to Zurich, Switzerland, which has been her main residence ever since.
In 2000, Tina launched her world tour “The Twenty Four Seven Tour” which would became her most successful concert tour to date and became the highest-grossing tour of the year, at more than $100 million US. Guinness World Records announced that Turner had sold more concert tickets than any other solo concert performer in music history, to that date. Afterward the tour, at the age of 61, Tina announced her semi-retirement.
Over the next years, Tina did record some minor studio albums. In 2007, Tina gave her first live performance in seven years, headlining a benefit concert for a children’s charity at London’s Natural History Museum. That same year, Ike Turner died from a cocaine overdose. Tina’s spokesman released her only reference of Ike’s passing, stating “Tina hasn’t had any contact with Ike in more than 30 years. No further comment will be made.”
Tina made her public comeback in February 2008 at the Grammy Awards where she performed alongside Beyoncé. Tina then embarked on her first tour in nearly ten years with the “Tina! : 50th Anniversary Tour.” Tina announced in December 2016 that she has been working on “Tina”, a new musical based on her story.
At 77 years old, Tina has earned her right to rest on her accomplishments. Ten solo albums and eleven World tours since the age of 45, is more than almost any other singer has done. For that effort and enjoyment, we are grateful!
Fred Jacobs is a full time resident of Puerto Vallarta and the author of three books.